This story excerpt was translated from bahasa Indonesia. To read the original story in full, visit Ekuatorial. You may also view the original story on the Rainforest Journalism Fund website here. Our website is available in English, Spanish, bahasa Indonesia, French, and Portuguese.
Hans Mandacan succeeded in inviting Kwau residents to promote ecotourism rather than hunting. The results are more profitable, and forests and ecosystems are maintained.
No one knows the terrain better than the hunters. No one knows every inch of the forest better than the local Indigenous people. Hans Mandacan is a combination of both who is now the foremost guardian of the integrity of the forest and its inhabitants.
The wooden hut stands in the middle of the forest in Kwau Village, Warmare District, Manokwari Regency, West Papua Province. Hans Mandacan (39) was checking several birdwatching spots when we arrived. He was preparing a group of overseas tourists when we visited last June.
April through October is indeed a good time for observing birds of paradise, as the various birds that magnetize Kwau Village are called. An activity Hans had never imagined before when he was a hunter.
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"Previously we hunted cuar. I was also a hunter. For 15 years I regretted it very much," said Hans. Cuar is Hatam for bird of paradise feather.
Hans, who is a member of the Hatam tribe, like many people living on the edge of the forest (or even living in the forest), lives from hunting. Initially, they hunted only to feed and clothe themselves.